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PEDIPED’S ANGELA EDGEWORTH

A C O L O R A D O R E TA I L E R F E AT H E R S H E R N E S T

EUROPE’S TOP TRENDS

SALES REPS TELL ALL

VOLUME 99 NUMBER 7

AUGUST 201 5 $10.00

SUITED

TO T H E

ISLAND LIFE


PLAYTIME ALL THE TIME


AUGUST 2015 FEATURES

EARNIE NOMINEES! P. 6

16 Sales Force ;nf[hjih[l[Wb^emjecWn_c_p[iWb[im_j^ j^[^[bfe\i[Wied[Zi^emheech[fi$

18 Sure Footed President Angela Edgeworth divulges the ijhWj[]oX[^_dZF[Z_f[ZÊiZ[YWZ[e\ikYY[ii$

22 Flying High 9Wheb_d[;lWiYke\9ebehWZe#XWi[ZD[ij ifh[WZi^[hm_d]im_j^jm[[diWdZjeoi$

38 Over the Top ;cX[bb_i^[Z"[bWXehWj[WdZ[b[]Wdj0ifh_d]Êi jefijob[i"_dekhWddkWb;khef[WdH[fehj$

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Noelle Heffernan Publisher Audrey Goodson Kingo Editor in Chief Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors ;:?JEH?7B Tara Anne Dalbow Fashion Editor Kirby Stirland Associate Editor Laurie Cone Associate Editor 7:L;HJ?I?D= Caroline Diaco =hekfFkXb_i^[h Jennifer Craig If[Y_Wb7YYekdji Manager FHE:K9J?ED Tim Jones :[fkjo7hj:_h[Yjeh Production Manager Mike Hoff Webmaster

FASHION 28 Island in the Sun :[i_]d[hiZ_f_djeWbW_ZXWYajWa[edjhef_# YWbim_cm[Wh\ehIkcc[hÊ',$ 4 Editor’s Note 8 JWba_d]Fe_dji 10 >ejFhef[hj_[i 12 Fresh Finds

24 EdJh[dZ 50 Behind the Seams 60 I^efJWba

Little Red Fish one-piece, model’s own sunglasses. On cover: Kate Mack bikini, Milk & Soda tassel necklaces. Photography by Christophe Kutner. Styling by Tara Anne Dalbow. Hair and makeup by Pascale Poma/Rona Represents.

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EARNSHAW’S INFANTS, GIRLS AND BOYS WEAR REVIEW ISSN 0161-2786 (USPS-320-090) The business and fashion magazine of the childrenswear industry is published 10x a year by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, 36 Cooper Square, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003. The publishers of this magazine do not assume responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition. Periodicals postage is paid in New York, N.Y. and additional mailing offices. Subscription price for one year: U.S. $48; Rates outside U.S. available upon request. Single price copy, $5. Copyright 2011 by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC. Postmaster: Send address changes to Earnshaw’s Infants, Girls and Boys Wear Review, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853-8548. Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photos. Any photographs, artwork, manuscripts, editorial samples or merchandise sent for editorial consideration are sent at the sole risk of the sender. Symphony Publishing NY, LLC will assume no responsibility for loss or damage. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Printed in USA.

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VISIT US


editor’s note IN MY FORMER life before becoming a children’s fashion editor, I dreamed of being a political reporter. Like every journalism student, I hoped to become the next Woodward or Bernstein, exposing crooked politicians and winning Pulitzers. While interning on the hill in Washington, D.C., I learned the phrase “All politics is local,” which is commonly attributed to former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill. I won’t bore you with political jargon, except to say that O’Neill was relating that voters often care more about the mundane but necessary needs in their local neighborhood, rather than big national issues. Who knew that aphorism would come in so handy at Earnshaw’s? If there’s anything I’ve learned in my time here, it could very well be “All fashion is local.” What’s selling at a boutique in Des Moines, IA, is drastically different from what’s selling at a store in San Antonio. In fact, what’s selling on one block in New York City is remarkably different from what’s selling 10 blocks away. To some degree, style has always varied from region to region. But the phenomenon seems to be especially true in recent years, a fact I attribute to our tech-heavy lives. In the age of the Internet, shoppers want a personalized experience when they visit a brick-and-mortar boutique. They want to find unique products that express their individuality. They want to support local artisans. That’s why sales reps are the unsung heroes of the children’s industry. Retailers sometimes ask me if I think a particular brand would be a good fit for their store. The honest answer? I can’t really say. I don’t know the local market, and I don’t know the store’s customers. Except for hearsay, I don’t really know the sales potential for most brands. But you know who does? Experienced sales reps. Sales reps are in the privileged position of talking to both manufacturers and retailers every day. Good sales reps know each and every item in their showroom (or their trunk, as the case may be) down to the tiniest detail. They know the needs of their retailers’ customers almost as well as the retailers themselves. Most importantly, they know what sells, and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, I often hear from retailers that too many sales reps are “out of touch” with what’s happening at the retail level. That’s too bad, because the reps I’ve had the opportunity to meet are some of the sharpest professionals in the children’s industry. If one of your reps isn’t helping you meet your sales goals, it’s time to find another. Harsh? Maybe. But with so many talented reps in this industry, there’s simply no reason to settle for second best. (If you’re looking for tips on finding a great rep, check out our Shop Class feature on p. 16.) With so many new technologies aiming to replace everything from sales reps to trade shows to brick-and-mortar retail itself, we have to stick together. While wholesale e-commerce sites like BrandBoom and NuOrder may make for a seamless ordering experience, they will never be able to replicate the industry insight a good sales rep can provide. Think of it this way: All fashion is local, and sales reps are your elected officials. Don’t be afraid to vote.

Rep Battle Can technology really replace savvy sales help?

AUDREY GOODSON KINGO

audrey.kingo@9threads.com


Photo: Laura Aldridge

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Ne w Yo r k 2 12 94 7 - 40 40 m ari av@ bi sco tti i nc.com Ch ic a g o 3 12 39 7 - 0 39 9 e l i t e k i d s @ p r o d i g y . n e t Da l la s 21 4 6 3 1 - 22 1 7 b t o w e r y a s s o c @ a o l . c o m


Congratulations to the nominees!

EARNIE AWARDS 2 0 1 5

Many congrats to the following companies for being selected as official nominees for the 2015 Earnie Awards. Thousands of votes were cast and hundreds of brands were nominated, but only four brands per category made the ballot. Now it’s time to select your favorites.

Vote now at www.earnieawards.com! Voting ends September 15. Winners will be announced at the Earnie Awards Ceremony on October 19.

Best Hosiery BabyLegs Country Kids Jefferies Socks Trimfit

Best Denim Diesel Hudson Jeans Levi’s Mayoral

Best Girls’ Collection Deux Par Deux Lemon Loves Lime Mustard Pie Tea Collection

Best Toys Jellycat Kids Preferred Lamaze Playmobil

Best Footwear Livie & Luca Pediped See Kai Run Skechers

Best Sleepwear Kickee Pants Kissy Kissy BedHead Petit Lem

Best Tween Collection Jak & Peppar Malibu Sugar Ragdoll and Rockets Roxy

“It” Item of the Year Chewbeads necklaces Pello floor pillows Piggy Paint nail polish Salt Water Sandals

Best Accessories Chewbeads Peppercorn Kids RuffleButts Wee Ones

Best Licensed Apparel & Accessories Carter’s by Rashti & Rashti Little Me by Mamiye Brothers Puma by United Legwear & Apparel Co. The World of Eric Carle by Jaxxwear

Best International Collection JoJo Maman Bébé Mayoral Petit Bateau Lili Gaufrette

Best Showroom Summer Place Showroom (Atlanta) Nancy Markert & Amy Hoffman (New York) Whitney Douglas Showroom (Chicago) Nicky Rose Kids (Los Angeles)

Best Outerwear Appaman JoJo Maman Bébé Mack & Co. Oil & Water Best Swimwear Isobella & Chloe Kate Mack Snapper Rock Stella Cove Best Dresswear Biscotti Isobella & Chloe Stella M’Lia US Angels

Best Infants’ Collection Kickee Pants Kissy Kissy Little Me Rockin’ Baby Best Boys’ Collection Appaman City Threads Andy & Evan Kapital K

Best New Collection Jak & Peppar Rockin’ Baby Sweet Cottontail Dedo Kids Best Gifts Aden + Anais Baby Jar Little Giraffe Bunnies by the Bay Best Baby Gear Bébé au Lait Boon Inc. Petunia Pickle Bottom Skip Hop

SPONSORED BY:

Company of the Year Aden + Anais Little Giraffe Tea Collection Mud Pie


You buy. We give. For every Rockin’ Baby clothing item you purchase, we will donate an item of clothing to a child in need. The more you buy – the more we can give. Child to Child.

Visit us at ENK Booth #6435 We take pride in being the first company to donate children’s clothing one to one. Nobody is doing this in the world in kidswear, so we would love as many moms, dads and retailers as possible (like you) to like us! USA REPS:

CANADA REPS:

SOUTHEAST: heather@teacuptots.com | 770.670.1418 NY/MID ATLANTIC/ NEW ENGLAND: kjbarsh@optimum.net | 203.274.7340 MIDWEST: chicagogallery@yahoo.com | 312.751.6800

SOUTHWEST: run2well@aol.com | 214.747.8608 CARIBBEAN/LATIN AMERICA: oqassoc@gmail.com | 305.594.7118 WEST COAST/ NORTH WEST: jody@smallshopshowroom.com | 213.488.0090

ONTARIO: judiogilvie@bellnet.ca | 416.350.9690 WESTERN PROVINCES: greg@gingerbaby.ca | 604.441.7728 QUEBEC / MARITIME PROVINCES: jr3888@sympatico.ca | 514.341.4888

For det a ils of our distributors in the following countries ple a se cont a ct us: J a p a n, Hong Kong, Chin a , South Korea, Taiw a n, Sing a pore, South Afric a , Australia, New Zealand, UAE, Norway and Netherlands. www.RockinBaby.com

Facebook.com/RockinBabySling

Twitter.com/RockinBabySling

instagram.com/rockin_baby

www.rockinbabyblog.com


Talking

Points Something for Everyone In baby gear, toys and children’s clothing, the gender-neutral trend continues to gain momentum.

T’S TIME TO stop assuming that only boys like dinosaurs and space exploration and only girls like the color pink,” states Martine Zoer, owner of Quirkie Kids, which makes children’s clothing that challenges traditional gender stereotypes. She’s not alone in that sentiment—the gender-neutral trend is gaining traction across various categories in the children’s market, from baby products jejeoi$A[_j^MWba[he\][dZ[h#d[kjhWba_ZiÊXhWdZ8WXoJ[_j^ goes as far as to say it isn’t even a trend. “[It’s] the future of children’s clothing. I think it’s being driven by a universal want for change.” J^WjmWij^[_cf[jki\eh=_hbiM_bb8["m^_Y^e\\[hiZkZi\eh]_hbi_d bright, bold colors (no pink or pastels) with statement-making screen prints and slogans—and an absence of bows, ruffles and hearts. Sharon Choksi co-founded the brand two years ago after realizing how polarized the children’s clothing industry had X[Yec[_dj[hcie\][dZ[h$J^[h[m[h[ “almost no options for kids who didn’t like the stereotypical styles,” she laments, describing the pink, sparkles and frills that fill most girls’ departments. In response, a growing number of brands are adding neutral options to their collections. In the baby category, however, it’s less about the colors and styles kids want and more about Mom. “It seems that Millennial parents are looking for more stylish pieces for their children than ever before,” offers Raegan Moya-Jones, co-founder and CEO of Aden + Anais. “Parents are gravitating to outfits and accessories that reflect their own style and taste instead of dressing their babies and children in overly infantile prints and silhouettes.” Plus, the brand’s sophisticated prints present an elegant solution to the problem of what to get fWh[dji#je#X[m^eWh[Wced]j^[ceh[j^Wd*&f[hY[djmW_j_d]je\_dZ out the sex of their child, according to a recent Today survey. Much maligned for drawing firm boundaries between what’s for boys and what’s for girls, even the toy industry is getting in on the trend, and in the process, encouraging girls to explore the burgeoning fields of science, tech, engineering and math. K’NEX is touting a new line of

C_]^joCWa[hiYedijhkYj_edi[jicWha[j[ZjemWhZ]_hbi$=ebZ_[8benÊi jeoi[jiWh[Z[i_]d[Zje[dYekhW][]_hbiÊIJ;Cia_bbi$7dZIm[Z_i^Wff Z[l[befc[djYecfWdoJeYW8eYWcWa[ih[\h[i^_d]bo][dZ[h#d[kjhWb Z_]_jWb]Wc[i$ÇJeYW8eYWcWa[iWffi\eha_ZiÆdejXeoi"dej]_hbiÆ`kij a_Zi"ÈiWoi8`hd@[\\h[o"9;EWdZ\ekdZ[he\JeYW8eYW$ But is the wider children’s market ready to move beyond the traditional pink and blue? Sarah Shaoul, owner of Black Wagon in Portland, OR, says her customers snap up unisex baby one-pieces and sleep sacks, as well as kids’ apparel and shoes, noting that families with boy/girl twins like buying clothing their tots can share. Still, even in progressive Portland, old habits die hard. “I do think the demand is growing, although there are still a lot of shoppers who are pretty traditional about buying for ‘boys’ or ‘girls.’” Jennifer Cattaui, owner of Babesta in New York City, where boys’ and girls’ clothing is sold on the same racks, says her fashion-forward customers prefer to shop according to their “personal style rather than preconditioned societal views.” As she puts it, “Shopping by gender lines seems pretty outmoded. People shop based upon what they like.” Choksi acknowledges that before she launched her company, many of the independent kids’ retailers she approached weren’t ready to bank on her idea. However, both Zoer and Choksi point out that many up-and-coming brands making gender-neutral kids’ products (including theirs) were started through crowdfunding—a testament to a growing groundswell in the market. ÇJ^[Z[cWdZ_iYb[Whboj^[h["È9^eai_Wii[hji"WZZ_d]j^Wj_\][dZ[h# neutral items were more readily available to customers, they’d be more inclined to choose them. What works in New York City or Portland may not work in other regions, and at the end of the day, the decision to add gender-neutral options to your assortment comes down to knowing “your customer, your mission and your merchandise mix,” adds Shaoul. “If you don’t know this, then you’re in trouble.” —Kirby Stirland

boy girl

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FASHION FROM SPAIN


HOT PROPERTIES

Let’s Get Digital

Tech-inspired properties are poised to take off in 2016. THE FUTURE IS now, according to industry chatter at the 35th annual Licensing Expo, which took place in Las Vegas June 9-11. Looking ahead, licensing execs confirmed the continuing importance of digital platforms as a showcase for new and existing brands. One example? AwesomenessTV, a teenfocused YouTube channel, recently started a consumer products division to capitalize on merchandising concepts inspired by its roster of teen TV stars. A sign of the property’s potential, Kohl’s S.o.R.a.d junior line, which was designed with input from the stars of AwesomenessTV and released last fall, has generated strong sales, in-store traffic and thousands of social media hits. For the younger set, Amazon Studios (which develops feature films and episodic series for the retail behemoth) touted its original programming, including its award-

winning shows Annedroids, Tumble Leaf, and Wishenpoof. And Netflix, another popular streaming service giving traditional TV a run for its money, announced that Masha and the Bear, a popular Russian pre-school production, will be available in late summer. Of course, licensing’s traditional power players like Disney still have plenty of new and re-booted properties poised for success in 2016. Disney’s roster includes a liveaction Tinkerbell movie, Tink, starring Reese Witherspoon (still in production), and an Alice in Wonderland sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, set to debut on May 27. Fashion apparel targeting kids and adults will be included in the product offering. According to Josh Silverman, the EVP of global licensing at Disney Consumer Products, the company continues to succeed by incorporating the storytelling element and authenticity into

its licensed product design. That authenticity—not to mention on-trend styling—are the traits that will keep well-known properties front and center with shoppers, says Pete Yoder, the VP of Cartoon Network Enterprises. “The days of slap-on licensing [are over]. You have to be fashion-forward to gain entry to new fans,” he adds, pointing to his company’s soon-to-be-announced apparel partnerships for Adventure Time and Powerpuff Girls, which will put style front and center. Another trend that still has (four) legs? Pet brands had a strong presence at the show. An array of apparel, toys, games, stationery and more will roll out at retail next May in honor ofThe Secret Life of Pets, a summer 2016 movie from NBC Universal/Illuminations Entertainment. Meanwhile, Pixar’s film Zootopia hits theaters next March. —Nancy Gendimenico

THE CHILDREN’S CLUB New York City Aug. 2 - 4

KIDS SHOW

Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Aug. 17 - 19 Offspring

1385 Broadway Suite 1800 New York, NY 10018 212-279-4150 Mark Zelen

West Coast

TeresaStephen 213-623-8155

Caribbean, Latin America & South Florida

Rolando & Ana Hidalgo 305-599-8717

Midwest

Richard Finkelstein & Al Zaiff 847-607-8543

er_08_15_hot_props_04.indd 10

Southeast

Paul Daubney 404-577-6840

Northeast

Bill & Sandie Ellsworth 781-326-3999

Texas / Southwest

Annette Cardona-Stein 214-637-4446

Mid Atlantic

Jack Harlan 215-805-1888

Western Canada

Jeff Swartz 604-681-1719

International

Nathan A. Mamiye 212-216-6008

8/10/15 11:46 AM


© 2015 Carter’s, Inc. All rights reserved. CARTER’S is a registered trademark owned by a subsidiary of Carter’s, Inc. Manufactured under license by Rashti & Rashti.

Proud to be Nominated for our Licensed Products

creative solutions for soothing baby to sleep

Glow Belly Soother

Lullaby Soother

Vibrations Soother

Soft Sounds Soother Swaddle Blankets

made under license by

£‡nää‡{‡,-/ÊUÊÊÜÜÜ°À>Å̈>˜`À>Å̈°Vœ“ÊUÊ Ê œœÌ…Êxä{™


RESH FINDS

Extra-soft and sensible styles debut for spring.

Match Made in Heaven

“Chief Choozer” Sharon Blumberg is a big believer in the power of creativity to motivate. Thus, she started Chooze, a kids’ company known for its fun, purposefully mismatched patterns. The collection has grown from its initial shoe offerings to include backpacks and lunch boxes, but Blumberg is expanding again, this time with apparel. Available in five print combinations—think flowers paired with stripes and rainbows with hearts, for example—the brand’s new activewear ranges from leggings and sporty dresses to shorts and skirts, all manufactured in Los Angeles. Featuring original patterns that incorporate the same reversecoordinated look as the brand’s beloved shoes and accessories, the apparel is available in sizes XXS to XL for girls ages 3 to 16, and wholesales for $14 to $24. See more at choozeshoes.com.

Nordic Chic

Century of Success

Family-owned Feltman Brothers is known for its finely crafted baby clothing and accessories made on machines in the Philippines that are nearly a century old. In fact, the company itself is nearly a century old, too, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Ahead of its centennial celebration, the brand introduces a new 100 percent pima cotton line. Made in Peru, where the cotton is exclusively grown, the layette collection includes rompers, gowns, bibs, blankets and hats, all featuring the traditional smocking and hand embroidery techniques that Philippine mothers pass down to their daughters. Available for boys and girls ages newborn to 9 months, the line wholesales for $10 to $31. Check out feltmanbrothers.com for more information.

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With a focus on fashionable yet practical outerwear, Minymo makes its U.S. debut at ENK Children’s Club this month, offering the brand’s signature sleek, Scandinavian style for girls and boys ages newborn to 14 years. Expect vibrant colors and whimsical prints, like butterflies, birds, lizards and monkeys, set against bright oranges, greens and purples. Wholesale prices range from $25 to $55 for the collection, which includes everything from weather-ready staples like 100 percent waterproof rainwear and snowsuits with thinsulate lining, to basics, such as tees, sweatshirts, sweaters, sweatpants and jeans. Visit www.brands4kids. dk/indexMinymo.html to learn more.


R E S H F I N D S Spotlight on Spain

Olé José

Family-run for nearly 40 years in Seville, Spain, J.V. José Varón debuted stateside at ENK Children’s Club in March. Known for its luxurious fabrics and exclusive prints, the brand offers coats, blazers, shirts, shorts, pants and hats for boys (up to age 12). For girls (up to age 14), the line includes bonnets, dresses, shirts, skirts, jackets, shorts and vests. Look for unexpected color combinations—think gray combined with magenta and moss green with coral. The brand also offers a swim collection every summer for boys and girls, as well as a baby collection, ranging from christening gowns to rompers, and a dedicated suit line, dubbed Varones, with jackets, pants, shirts, vests, shorts and ties, for boys ages 4 to 16. Wholesale prices are $25 to $100. Visit jvjosevaron.com and onevaron.com to learn more.

SPANISH CONQUEST SPAIN IS KNOWN for many things—sangria, tapas and flamenco, to name a few—but get ready to add another item to the list: childrenswear. Spanish apparel for little ones is having a major moment in the U.S., thanks to a tempting combination of original style and exceptional quality. “Most U.S. retailers are looking to offer distinctive brands that set them apart from the competition. Spanish brands are poised to fit that need due to their European heritage, craftsmanship, quality and innovative materials,” explains Elena Sotorrío, executive sales manager of distribution company Sisters B2B, which specializes in assisting Spanish firms with U.S. expansion. As she puts it, the country’s “combination of a centuries-old rich history with expertise in clothing manufacturing” is an appealing mix for many shoppers, as proven by the growing desire for Spanish brands, particularly in Texas, New York, Florida and California. As for why so many brands from Barcelona and Seville are making their way to the states, Mikel Orbe, director of the interiors and fashion department for the Trade Commission of Spain in New York, notes, “Exports within the European Union are already strong, so Spanish firms are looking for other markets.” And how will Spanish brands stand out among the many labels populating the American market? “Spanish design is very creative, with geometrical shapes, bright colors and quality fabrics and materials,” Orbe emphasizes. “Spanish brands are strongly focused on design and innovation and the quality of the textiles is outstanding.” Lores Segura, director of ASEPRI, the Spanish Association of Children’s Products Manufacturers, points out, “One of the features that makes childrenswear from Spain very attractive for the American market is its excellent value.” She adds, “The perception by the American public of Spanish fashion is very positive—think Zara and Mango—and there’s a demand for products made in Spain.” Want to add some Spanish flavor to your assortment? Read on for the newest brands poised to take over store shelves. —Laurie Cone

Dress Code

Founded in 1987 in Valencia, Spain, Barcarola Moda Infantil got its start producing boys’ and girls’ christening and communion wear, but its Fall ’15 collection for girls ages 1 to 18 years goes far beyond gowns, with dresses, tops, shorts, pants, skirts, jackets and accessories. The line, which first debuted in the U.S. at ENK Children’s Club in March, incorporates saturated hues like ice blue, emerald green and petal pink along with opulent details, such as sequins, sheer overlays, fur stoles and muffs. Accessories are similarly decadent: Shoes feature feathers, headbands are adorned with blooming flowers or glittering crowns and purses sport chain-link straps. Wholesale prices range from $13 to $135. While fall usually brings an exclusive girls’ collection, look out for boys’ items every spring. Visit barcarola modainfantil.com.


Well Structured

Two years ago, former architecture partners Cristina López-Lago and Maria Llerena launched Motoreta in Seville, Spain—with the idea that they would apply design concepts directly from their architectural work to a collection of children’s apparel. As a result, silhouettes for boys and girls are simple, shapes are clean and colors are basic. For Spring ’15, sharp geometric shapes are paired with a palette of yellows, blacks and denim. But the designers are also inspired by natural settings, so for Spring ’16, the flat landscapes and salt harvests in Cádiz, Spain, provided ample inspiration for the line’s dresses, tops, pants, overalls and skirts. Also new for Spring ’16 is the brand’s first baby collection, featuring dresses, blouses, bloomers, shorts, pants and jumpsuits. Sizes range from 9 months up to 12 years, and wholesale prices are $18 to $34. Visit motoreta.es.

Package Deal

Elfi e Fate was born in 2010 in Girona, Spain, and the brand is focused on just that: birth, that fleeting “sweet and magic moment,” says brand manager Adrián Castro. Fittingly, the brand’s packaging is chock-full of handmade details: One-pieces come in glass jars and plush animals are nestled in delicate mesh bags. Available for newborns up to 6 months, the collection includes tops, bottoms, skirts, one-pieces, booties, hats, bibs and gift items. Wholesaling for $9 to $40, see more at elfiefate.com.

Bold Moves

Couture Cuts

Meet Rubio Kids, distributed in the U.S. by Nubë 9, which aims to introduce highend, high-quality European brands to the American market. Nubë 9 Founder Pamela Ip describes Rubio Kids as “fresh and timeless with a twist.” A special occasion collection for ages 4 to 16, the brand’s romantic dresses are hand-cut in a Valencia, Spain, atelier using exquisite European fabrics. The label also offers suits for both girls and boys. Wholesale prices range from $150 to $450. To learn more, visit nube9kids.com.

Leave it to a graphic designer to create a kids’ line filled with bold, spare prints, like monsters, faces, funnels and trains. Laura Armet, designer and co-founder of Picnik, worked for several advertising agencies in Barcelona, but after becoming a mother, she and her husband founded a collection of children’s apparel for ages 3 months to 8 years. Peppered with phrases such as, “It’s Sunny, Let’s Picnik!,” as well as pops of marigold, light blue, red, and celery green, the line offers a range of silhouettes, including shorts, dresses, tees, one-pieces, jumpsuits, leggings, swimwear, skirts, hoodies, bags, and lightweight scarves. Made in Barcelona with natural dyes and fabrics, Picnik wholesales for $12 to $30. Check out picnik-barcelona.com.

Wild Ones

Barcelona-based L’Enfant Sauvage is the long-time dream of Aleix Montoto and Maria Guitart, or as they like to call themselves, “Mr. and Mrs. Sauvage.” With careers in the publishing world, the two spent years pining to design childrenswear. Last year, they threw caution to the wind and founded L’Enfant Sauvage. The brand will make its first tradeshow appearance at Playtime New York this month, and it will debut with a bang: The Spring ’16 collection includes lions, polka dots, wildflowers and under-the-sea creatures printed on a range of cotton basics, like T-shirts, one-pieces, cardigans, rompers, dresses, hoodies and baseball-style jersey tops. Manufactured locally in Spain and available for boys and girls ages 3 months to 10 years, wholesale prices range from $10 to $30. Visit www. lenfant-sauvage.com.

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SHOP

class InPlay’s Dallas Showroom

Sales Force

Whether you’re a buyer or a brand, your sales reps are an essential piece of the retail puzzle, so make the most of their wealth of industry insights. BY KIRBY STIRLAND

LI MOROZE WEARS many hats. She’s a rep, sure— her New York City showroom, Ali’s Market, is a wonderland of high-end kids’ brands like Bóboli, Piccolo Bambino and Rowen Christian Couture— but she’s also a merchandising expert, a trend forecaster and a digital marketer. She’s helped new stores design their sales flow, come up with display ideas, sort out their billing system and manage e-mails. She’ll even write entire orders for her valued retail clients on occasion. It turns out her approach isn’t uncom1 6 ; 7 H D I > 7M I $ 9 E C  š  7 K = K I J  ( & ' +

mon in the industry. In fact, the best sales reps do a lot more than just sell apparel to retailers. In addition to knowing their lines inside and out, they also leverage their knowledge of fashion trends, local markets, industry best practices and the needs of the end customer to become invaluable resources to both the brands they represent and the retailers to which they sell. “An every day, average order-taker does not make a great sales rep…Retailers need more than that,” says Terra Fazzio of Thread Showroom in New York City, which reps brands like Mayoral and Rachel Riley. Whitney Douglas of Whitney Douglas Showroom in Chicago (where you’ll find Jacadi, 7 for All Mankind Kids and Go Gently Baby) describes the best reps as “problem solvers, trend finders, brand advisors and market advisors.” Still, the retail landscape is evolving, with more manufacturers turning to corporate reps, selling direct to consumer and using online showrooms to connect with retailers. “If I opened a store tomorrow, I’d visit trade shows, take notes galore, visit the local showroom if I lived near it, then go home and work online,” says Francois Vachon of Canadian brand Coccoli, adding that wholesale e-commerce platforms like BrandBoom are easy and convenient to use. While that may mean fewer independent reps and brick-and-mortar showrooms, there’s still plenty of value in maintaining those relationships, whether you’re a childrenswear brand looking to break into more retail doors or a boutique trying to shake up your assortment. Read on for advice about choosing a rep that will steer you in the right direction.

The best reps… KNOW THEIR BRANDS Simply put, “you can’t represent a company you don’t know,” says Laura Tenison of U.K.-based baby and kids brand JoJo Maman Bébé. To support the opening of the brand’s new U.S. distribution center, the company appointed a team of sales reps across the country, fully immersing them in the company culture from the get-go. Tenison explains that the new reps spent a week traveling around London, visiting various stores as well as the company’s headquarters in Wales. “They came to know and understand the business, our ethos, our design and garment technology and attention to detail,” she says, adding, “We need them to be ambassadors for the brand.” Obviously, informed reps reflect positively on the brands they work with, but it’s also to the benefit of retailers, particularly in the case of a line that’s new to a particular store or market. “The more they understand my business and the product, the less wasted time and money there is,” says Dawn Price of Dawn Price Baby in Washington, D.C. Understanding a brand’s collection goes beyond knowing whether it’s a good fit for a store. “It’s not just about selling the brand, it’s about selling the brand properly,” Moroze attests. That means helping ensure buyers >54


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Q& A

Sure Footed With a decade of experience crafting quality footwear for kids, Brian and Angela Edgeworth are no longer industry novices. Here, President and Co-Founder Angela reveals the traits that turned Pediped into a specialty retail staple—and why those values will never waver.

MANY A BRAND in the children’s industry begins with a frustrated mom who can’t find what she needs on the market, and, in a moment of inspiration, realizes she’s found her entrepreneurial calling. But not many of those moms go on to replicate the level of success that Co-Founder and President Angela Edgeworth has achieved at Pediped, with the help of her husband and fellow Co-Founder, Brian. Now, a decade after Edgeworth designed the prototype for her very first pair of first-walkers, the bestselling children’s footm[WhXhWdZ_iWlW_bWXb[Wjceh[j^Wd'"+&&h[jW_b[hi_d el[h+&Yekdjh_[i$ Of course, Edgeworth admits, the story wouldn’t be complete without a retailer willing to take a chance on Wd[mfheZkYj$<ehF[Z_f[Z"_jmWiJ^[FkcfIjWj_ed Nurtury in Santa Monica, CA. “I think if they had said no we probably wouldn’t be in the shoe business,” she says with a laugh. But Edgeworth was offering something that was indeed uncommon at the time: a flexible shoe for tiny feet. “We had just had our first child, Caroline, and we couldn’t find exactly what we were 1 8 ; 7 H D I > 7M I $ 9 E C  š  7 K = K I J  ( & ' +

looking for—a soft-soled shoe that she could wear _di_Z[ehekji_Z["È;Z][mehj^h[YWbbi$ÇJ^[edboj^_d] we could find was more of a sock or a slipper.” Fittingly, the company’s first line of shoes for infants and toddlers featured flexible soles but were crafted using high-quality leather, a combination that made them ideal for play both indoors and out. Now, dubbed Originals, the collection still offers many of the same bestselling styles that first made Pediped a hit with moms. As Caroline and Angela’s second daughter, Lauren, ]h[m"ieZ_Zj^[XhWdZ$ÇJ^[b_d[`kija[fj]hem_d] because at each stage we thought, ‘Let’s just keep ]e_d]"ÊÈ;Z][mehj^iWoi$D[nj"_d(&&-"YWc[j^[<b[n Yebb[Yj_ed\ehÇYed\_Z[djmWba[hiÈW][i'WdZkf$8kj the brand was missing styles designed especially for jeZZb[hi"j^kij^[=h_fÉdÊ=eb_d[YWc[Wbed]_d(&&." offering soft rubber soles, rounded edges that mimic the shape of a child’s foot and a soft toe box to allow toes to grip the floor. And as the product offering increased, so did sales— a welcome sign of market approval for the footwear

BY AUDREY GOODSON KINGO


Q& A UP CLOSE WITH

ANGELA EDGEWORTH What are you listening to right now? Taylor Swift, and more Taylor Swift. I think I have five different Taylor Swift CDs in my car, and it’s all from the kids. I’m perfectly happy with that, though, because I think she’s one of the rare positive role models, for young women particularly. What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently? Inside Out. It was really cute and a lot of fun. What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon? We go on a big vacation with the kids every year in the summertime. It’s our way of getting some down time with the family, and it’s a wonderful way to expose them to what’s happening outside their own bubble. What three things would you bring on a deserted island? I hate to say it, but my iPhone, a picture of my kids and a good book. Then I would curl up and wait for someone to rescue me.

novices. “I don’t think we intentionally set out to be in the kids’ business or the shoe business in particular. It just kind of ended up that way,” she reflects. “We had to learn a lot of the stuff from the school of hard knocks, but some things worked out, too.” Sharing that success, via the company’s charitable arm, The Pediped Foundation, is one of Edgeworth’s proudest accomplishments. It even earned the brand an Earnie Award in 2012 and 2013, for Best Company for Good and Best Community Outreach, respectively. (Pediped also snagged the Best Footwear Award in 2011 and 2014.) Since its establishment in 2004, the organization has donated more than $2.8 million in cash and product to children in need, via nonprofits like Operation Shower and Baby Buggy. “It’s important to us to be able to give back,” Edgeworth explains. “It feels great, and it has a great impact on a lot of different people. It’s been one of those things that we’ve done since the very beginning of the company and will continue to keep doing.” As for what else the company will keep doing, Edgeworth is mum on details, but promises Pediped will stay true to the core values that have made it a hit with parents across the globe, chiefly, creating comfortable, high-quality footwear. “We’re a company that’s not new and not old, and it’s an exciting phase because there’s a lot more to come.” Were there any big turning points for the brand over the years? I feel like there were quite a few. Each time we launched a new product was a turning point for us, since we extended our base and expanded our channels. And a lot has changed in the last five years, in terms of the landscape where people are buying [kids’ shoes]. I don’t think things have stabilized or settled down [since the recession] in that

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sense. That’s why it’s really important to stay on top of whatever is changing in the market and to be in tune with what’s going on outside of our little bubble. So how do you stay on top of those changes? We talk to our retailers a lot, and we get a lot of feedback from our consumers, too. We try to really listen to what they say. Something that worked last year or five years ago might not work today.

Do you think that’s why Pediped has such a great relationship with its retailers—because they can rely on the brand for great product? That’s very flattering and humbling and what we strive to do. The most important thing retailers want is a brand that stands behind its product and delivers the highest quality possible. We try to maintain a great relationship with our retailers. It’s so important because they’re representing the brand. That’s why we love our specialty retailers in particular. They’re the ones that give the best customer service and help kids get the right fit—which ensures their customers come back for repeat visits. Specialty retail is still our core focus.

Any examples of adjustments you’ve made in response to those requests? We’ve expanded our athletic line and size range due to customer demand. Next year we’ll be going to a 36EU for the first time (a 4/5 U.S. kids’ size). We were a little bit resistant at first. We thought our core customer was a little bit younger than that. Sometimes it’s tough to decide when to listen to the minority voice when you’re developing new product. You don’t want to get caught up in trying to please everyone. But we try to listen carefully to feedback, filter it and figure out what we think is in line with our brand, to make sure we’re being true to our core values.

But Pediped is also available to buy online, correct? We started selling online at our inception in 2005. Our goal is to make everything seamless, whether customers purchase a pair in a specialty retail store or online through us, or through one of our online partners. Wherever you go, we want to make the experience similar. And the website is an important way to represent the brand—a place where people can go and learn more about the history of the company or look at the current season’s lookbook.

What are those core values? Our core values are providing comfortable, high-quality and stylish footwear, and excellent customer service. And we stuck to those values even throughout the recession. We didn’t change our product line or change our customer service during tough times, and I think our customers appreciated it—that we completely stood behind the brand 100 percent the entire time.

Is your online sales channel growing? It’s growing, but I think the market is still changing. I don’t think things have stabilized yet in terms of where sales will wind up in the future. We have definitely noticed an uptick. It’s inevitable when you have some brick-and-mortar stores close. People still need to buy shoes. And for busy moms, shopping online is sometimes easier than going into a store. At the same time, we’re hoping to see that brick-and-mortar >57


[ON THE BLOCK]

Flying High

Caroline Evascu, owner of Colorado-based children’s boutique Nest, expands her flock with two new shops offering tween apparel and toys. BY L AU R I E CO N E T’S A SAFE bet these days that Caroline Evascu, owner of Nest Children’s Boutique, can be found within a two-block radius in Denver, CO. As if Nest hasn’t kept Evascu busy, with its locations in Boulder, CO, and in Denver’s Cherry Creek North shopping district, last month she opened a tween boutique, called Hatched, and a toy shop, dubbed Firebird. Thankfully for the mom of three, all three Denver-area stores are within an easy walk—Nest and Hatched even share a connecting doorway and an outdoor courtyard. “I wanted to grow my business, but I didn’t want to have to drive long distances, especially not as a working mom,” she explains. That isn’t to say each expansion wasn’t carefully considered. Evascu first opened Nest in 2010, and the lessons she learned along the way—from the importance of finding the right location to managing the perfect merchandise mix—have all helped the savvy store owner understand what it takes to thrive in the tricky world of independent retail. Nest’s signature color is robin’s egg blue.

HOW NEST HATCHED Evascu was working as a portfolio manager on Wall Street in 2007 when she became pregnant with the first of her three children. As is often the case with harried New York City professionals, she and her husband decided a lifestyle change was in order—but they took a decidedly unconventional approach when selecting a new spot to call home. “We looked at ten cities and made a spreadsheet of the attributes we were looking for in a new community, and Denver won,” she reports. After the big move, Evascu spent a few years as a busy stay-at-home mom, but eventually yearned for something more. “I had come out of this nesting phase in my own life with my family and I wanted to create a nesting environment for others,” she recalls. Utilizing her business background, she opened the first Nest location in Denver in 2010. The store quickly flourished, growing from what she described as a “hobby” and “creative outlet” to a full-fledged boutique carrying a wide array of clothing and gifts for the city’s tots. Today, the shop offers over 50 brands for newborns up to 8 years, from popular basics by Petit Bateau and Egg by Susan Lazar to local favorites like Hip Violet bibs and Chick-a-dee Studio burp cloths. “We grew up; we’re a real business now,” she quips. As it happens, the timing was right in 2010 for a children’s shop to open in Denver. “Starting in 2007, with the economic downturn, a lot of Denver 2 2 ; 7 H D I > 7M I $ 9 E C  š  7 K = K I J  ( & ' +

kids’ shops closed, so I didn’t have a lot of competition.” The store’s early success convinced Evascu to open a second location in downtown Denver in 2011, but the new spot never caught on in quite the same way. “As much success as Nest has had, we’ve actually failed too. For me, it’s been an interesting experience to learn what works and what doesn’t—and sometimes you learn more when something doesn’t work,” Evascu admits. The first lesson? Foot traffic isn’t everything. “We were on the best tourist block in Denver, but we weren’t a destination,” she says of the second location. Many of the store’s shoppers were out-of-town tourists, which made it a challenge to build up a base of repeat customers and to determine the times when shoppers were likely to stop by. “From a retail standpoint, it was hard to figure out the traffic flow; it wasn’t consistent.” The downtown location closed in 2014, but it was the first of many lessons Evascu put to good use. When she opened Nest’s Boulder location in 2014, she looked for a spot that was already popular with local families, and wisely settled on a storefront near a maternity shop, a kids’ haircut parlor, a toy store and a prenatal yoga studio. But it’s not just Nest’s location that’s changed over the years: >58


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OnTrend

Iglo + Indi sweatshirt

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Satsuma Designs socks

Little Giraffe blanket

98% Angel dress

Children’s Fashion from Spain Imoga cardigan

Vierra Rose tutu The Dragon and the Rabbit jumper Bóboli long-sleeve T-Shirt

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Appaman jacket

Mim-Pi dress

Beanstork bodysuit

Pumpkin Patch

Kid O roller toy

RUNWAY PHOTOGRAPHY FROM PITTI IMMAGINE BIMBO.

Is orange really the new black? According to children’s spring collections, it just may be. Perhaps it’s because the standout shade packs a seasonless punch; depending on the wattage, it can skew autumnal or scream summertime. Inspired by poppy shades of tangerine and punchy mandarin hues seen on Fall ’15 runways at Rag & Bone and Prabal Gurung, children’s designers take a more muted approach to the hue for spring. Instead of making a citrus splash, silhouettes are painted in sophisticated shades of coral and pumpkin. In fact, the gender-neutral color can be found punctuating neutrals, popping geometric prints and elevating basics from boring to brash. From bomber jackets to blankets, the resounding message is go bold or go home. —Tara Anne Dalbow

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Cienta espadrilles

Little Joule

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Cape Clogs clog

Emu Mary Jane

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Margherita Kids dress

RUNWAY PHOTOGRAPHY FROM PITTI IMMAGINE BIMBO.

Morgan & Milo dress

On the Dot Manila Grace

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America’s love affair with polka dots began in the 1920s, when Disney introduced its cartoon darling Minnie Mouse in a red polka dot frock, and was carried through the decades in the lyrics of Frank Sinatra ballads and on the dresses of leading ladies such as Marilyn Monroe and, now, Alexa Chung. Top European childrenswear designers kept the circle play fresh for Spring ’16 with graphic, pop-art-inspired prints. Look for bold dots to make the leap across the pond and onto everything from hair bows to formal dresses and colorful Macs. Imagined in bright colors and infused with new life on over-the-top silhouettes, these pieces are sure to hit the spot. —T.A.D. ( & ' +  7 K = K I J š  ; 7 H D I > 7M I $ 9 E C 2 7


Coco and Ginger blouse and bikini bottom, stylistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own hat. 29


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Coral & Reef crochet bikini; Lulita by Luli Fama tankini. Opposite page: Limeapple fringe bikini, pink sunglasses by Appaman, Milk & Soda tassel necklaces. 31


Retromarine New York swim trunks; Gl端ck bikini, Jacques & Sienna beaded bracelets.


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Tom & Teddy waveprint swim trunks, modelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own necklace. Opposite page: Floatimini tankini top, Submarine fringe bottoms, Appaman floppy hat, Polo Ralph Lauren thong sandals.


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Platypus Australia cutout one-piece, Appaman sunglasses. Opposite page: Limeapple bikini, Melissa Odabash kaftan, Jacques & Sienna tassel necklaces. Hair and makeup by Pascale Poma/Rona Represents. 37


SPRING/SUMMER ’16 EUROPEAN TREND REPORT

OVER THE TOP EVERY YEAR CHILDRENSWEAR buyers kick off their summer season with a month-long Euro trip, and not just to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the David in Florence. The main attractions are actually much smaller. Miniature models strut down runways in the season’s most coveted tot-sized trends at an array of tradeshows

across the continent, including Pitti Immagine Bimbo in Florence, Playtime in Paris, Bubble in London and Fimi in Madrid. We asked experts across the industry to share the biggest trends to look for in Spring ’16. The best news from abroad? Children’s collections are looking more sophisticated and elaborate than ever before.

Desigual Fun & Fun

Fun & Fun

Barcarola

Miss Grant

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SUN SHADE Say good-

LIFE AQUATIC Designers take

bye to last season’s mustard yellow tones and hello to zesty lemon and bright buttercup, as designers cast everything from formal dresses to coats in the bold hue. Beth Clifton, buyer for online children’s boutique AlexandAlexa, lists the shade as the most important color of the season, due in part to its gender-neutral standing and its association with brighter days.

a deep dive into the big blue for Spring ’16, inspired by not only the luminous colors of the sea, but also the creatures that call it home. Clifton confirms, “There’s a real dominance of an underwater theme—nearly every collection is sporting something aquatic, either an octopus, a lobster or a mermaid.” While tulle skirts in seafoam green mimic the shifting tides, graphic sharks at Desigual and photo-real fish prints by Fun & Fun pay more obvious homage to life under the sea.


SPRING/SUMMER ’16 EUROPEAN TREND REPORT DO IT WITH DENIM

NAME GAME Though

Bóboli

recent years have seen a decline in logomania, this season children’s designers found inspiration in the early 2000s, when bold block letters dominated offerings from labels like Chanel and Hermès. “I saw a lot of loud logos,” observes John Muller, account director at Petite Parade, who notes brands got creative with their namedropping via typography and photography. From heritage signatures to silhouetted portraits of the brand’s creative director—yes, we’re looking at you Karl Lagerfeld—kids’ threads can now join the conversation.

“There is so much strong denim coming through, with faded, worn, patched and fringed features,” reports Linda McLean, the founder of international children’s fashion blog Smudgetikka. Look for intricate patchwork, deconstructed details and elaborate dye patterns to give America’s favorite fabric a très chic European update. From dark distressed androgynous jackets at Fashion from Spain, to iridescent sequin-adorned skinnies at Miss Grant, denim, in its many fashion-forward forms, is poised to make a statement.

dummy Fun & Fun

Miss Grant


MSGM Kids

FACE TIME Playful

SUPER NATURAL

prints are a childrenswear mainstay, but designers are moving away from the zebra stripes and leopard spots of yore and reinterpreting the trend with animal head motifs, reports Nicole Yee, childrenswear editor at trend forecasting agency Fashion Snoops. Ranging from hyenas at Marcelo Burlon Kids to hummingbirds at MSGM Kids, creatures large and small can be found adding ferocious interest to boys’ and girls’ apparel. Muller points to cat motifs at Charabia Paris and Karl Lagerfeld as top of the food chain.

From materials to patterns, children’s designers went au naturale for Spring ’16. Key fabrics include organic linen, cheesecloth and cotton in earthy hues. (Think brown, beige and green.) Twobutton linen shirts for boys and oversized cotton skirts for girls look easy and effortless, while foliage patterns sprout on styles for both genders. “There was a lot of green, and natureinspired prints,” confirms Muller, who cites Scotch & Soda’s greenhouse-themed presentation as a key example.

Marcelo Burlon Kids

Fun & Fun

Fashion from Spain

Il Gufo


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Mayoral

LACED UP Lace, in

THAT ’70S TREND

a muted color palette of soft pastels and traditional white, lent girls’ collections a refined femininity. Though the delicate fabric dates back to the 1400s, modern twists such as photoreal prints, embossed textures and metallic foiling give the fabric a fresh new feel. “With childrenswear, there is always some sort of evolution, but... Lace is one of those classics, and I saw a lot of it,” says Muller. He points to pieces that juxtapose lace and crochet with airy tulle or linen as highlights.

The ’70s made a startling comeback in Fall ’15, and spring European collections continue the trend. “Think folky prints, flares and light wash denim,” states Clifton, who points toward flares at Chloé and fringed jersey dresses at Stella McCartney Kids as key pieces for the trend. Muller advises retailers to embrace the trend’s boho side, noting free-flowing silhouettes and crochet materials (a kid-friendly alternative to suede) as important.

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SPRING/SUMMER ’16 EUROPEAN TREND REPORT

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More designers than ever before are turning out Lilliputian versions of their adult lines, with styles as sophisticated as their full-size counterparts. “We have seen this in some of the biggest names across childrenswear,” notes Clifton, who points toward fashion giants such as Chloé, Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana, as examples of brands that pastiched the fabrics and shapes from their adult line for a mini collection filled with sophisticated silhouettes, such as loose fit trousers.

RAZZLE DAZZLE

Fun & Fun

Tuc Tuc Il Gufo

More is more when it comes to girls’ spring fashions. Embellishment could be found sewn on everything from T-shirts to special occasion dresses. Glimmering beadwork, 3-D tassel details and plenty of appliqué elevated everyday basics to couture-like quality. “Also, there’s been lots of broderie anglaise, with scalloped edging, fringing and plenty of embellishment,” adds Clifton. Similar to the day-to-night dressing trend that has taken over the women’s market, these overthe-top details allow tots to go from school to play—no tiara required.

LEARN from NATURE AUTUMN / WINTER 15-16 COLLECTION Come and find out more about our SS16 collection at our showroom: Ali’s Market 34 West 33rd St. #906 / NYC 212-695-2300 phone allison@alismarket.com www.boboli.es

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Spring

SPRING/SUMMER ’16

FOOTWEAR

TREND REPORT

Awakening

S THE WORLD wakes up from a long winter’s nap and springs to life with color and light, kids’ footwear designers take a tip from Mother Nature, with a vibrant palette of hues, a barrage of playful prints and a lineup of goanywhere styles. To spot top trends, look to adult collections, says Beth Clifton, a buyer for online childrenswear retailer AlexandAlexa, noting that Spring ’16 styles offer lots of opportunities for “mini me” ensembles. And sneakers are still going strong; Clifton points out that easy-to-wear slip-ons in particular are not only trend-right, but great for kids on the go. After exploring footwear trade shows and talking to children’s fashion experts, we’ve unearthed the trends that will put a spring in your step—or at least, your Spring ’16 assortment. BY KIRBY STIRLAND

4 4 ; 7 H D I > 7M I $ 9 E C  š  7 K = K I J  ( & ' +

MIA

Feeling Festive

The popularity of music festivals has forged a whole new category in fashion—in fact, this year, H&M teamed up with Coachella to offer a concert-ready collection that was heavy on crochet and tribal prints. Similarly, far-out fringe, bright embroidery and globally inspired boho patterns strike the right note in warm-weather kids’ footwear. Earthy, organic-looking materials and pops of rainbow-bright hues are made for endless summer adventures, even if little ones won’t be standing front row at Bonnaroo.

Chooze Minnetonka

High Achievers

With sneakers accounting for the majority of children’s online footwear sales in the last year according to data from the NPD Group, expect them to stay strong for Spring ’16. Sharon Blumberg of children’s brand Chooze notes that the high-top silhouette in particular has been hot in the European market and is poised to hit it big stateside in the coming season, offering that it adds “a creative edge to any outfit,” from leggings to shorts to dresses. Whether treated with playful mismatched prints or perforated leather, high-tops are comfortable and versatile with just the right amount of throwback cool.

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Native

Good Jeans

As American as apple pie, denim is a wardrobe staple for a reason, and in Spring ’16 it’s making its way onto footwear. In a range of washes, this timeless textile will pop up on everything from casual shoes to special occasion styles. Nicole Yee, childrenswear editor at style forecasting site Fashion Snoops, says to keep an eye out for interesting textural treatments like embroidery inspired by the traditional Japanese art of sashiko, which offers extra visual interest.

Do or Dye

Though best known for being popular among hippies of the late 1960s, tie-dye has ancient roots around the world (including Japanese shibori and Indonesian ikat). Last year, designers like Michael Kors and Alexander Wang mined the swinging style for their resort collections. Whether in sun-bleached pastels or a psychedelic riot of brights, the modern iteration of this trippy treatment adds fun, crafty flair to casual sneakers. It’s a colorful, kid-friendly way to try on the retro trend that’s showing no sign of slowing down.


SPRING/SUMMER ’16

FOOTWEAR

Western Chief

TREND REPORT

Cole Haan

Water Babies

Children’s designers take a deep dive in Spring ‘16 with all-over patterns inspired by ocean life, resulting in a seafaring theme that’s just right for beach or pool days. Vans’ digital shark print was designed to look as realistic as possible, so it’s just ferocious enough for the shark-obsessed, explains Maddison Ek, product line manager for Vans Kids Classics. Too young for Jaws? Cartoonish piranhas, like those on Chooze’s sneakers, and preppy lobsters, like the ones on Cole Haan’s loafers, are playful, not scary.

Making Faces

Pediped

Jack & Lily

Come face to face with a cast of creatures, from piglets to peacocks, which adorn sweet Mary Janes, moccasins and ballet flats. Rob Buell, owner of Jack & Lily Footwear, says the brand drew inspiration from children’s relationships with their favorite blankets and toys for their 3D character mocs. “Our Tiger, Kitty and Bunny are so playful and fun that kids can think of them as play pals,” he says. Yee expects this whimsical spin on the animal motif trend to be big for spring, in addition to classic prints in unusual color palettes (like leopard rendered in bright pink and purple).


SPRING/SUMMER ’16

FOOTWEAR

Bearpaw

TREND REPORT

Chooze

Timberland

Vans

The New Normal

After the advent of Normcore brought a stripped-down aesthetic to adult fashion last year, resulting in a surprisingly chic resurgence of Birkenstocks, Tevas and Adidas slides, the look is making its way onto children’s footwear for Spring ’16. “The big trend toward casual and comfort in adult footwear is impacting the way parents shop for their kids,” attests Blumberg. Yee predicts minimalist sneakers and sandals will be big, explaining, “Footwear continues to be more gender-neutral.” Think footbed slides, spare leather sandals and utilitarian sneakers.

Snack Pack

Last spring, appetite-piquing patterns covered kids apparel, and in footwear for Spring ’16, there’s a quirky print on the menu that will satisfy whatever you’re craving. Kids’ designers raided the fridge for inspiration, resulting in sneakers, boots and sandals emblazoned with tacos, hamburgers, cupcakes and cherries that will appeal to even the pickiest tots. “All kids love junk food, especially when their parents don’t let them eat it a lot,” says Ek. “The prints were inspired by everyone’s favorite cheesy snack foods and sugary treats.”

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Earnshaws_ThirdVertical_061515_2.pdf 1 6/15/2015 3:10:08 PM

BEHIND THE SEAMS SWIM

Wave Rider

Squirtini Bikini’s designer surfs into ageappropriate swimwear for teens.

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Block Party

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Swimwear brand Snapper Rock serves up (safe) fun in the sun.

IZ EGLINTON, CEO and founder of kids’ protective swimwear brand Snapper Rock, knows a few things about the sun, but it isn’t all about fun for her—she is especially concerned with protecting tykes from harmful UV rays. After moving from New Zealand to Annapolis, Maryland, she was surprised to see so many children attempting to (unsuccessfully) thwart the sun in heavy T-shirts. She explains, “As a native New Zealander, where the sun is very intense, I was brought up with protective swimwear being the norm.” Spotting a gap in the U.S. market for sun-shielding suits, she launched Snapper Rock in 2003. Now, Eglinton is an expert when it comes to the nitty-gritty details involved in delivering multi-purpose swimwear that will protect from the sun’s rays and look good while doing it. “Snapper Rock’s protection comes from two main parts: the density and weave of the fabric. There is no need for chemicals to be added.” That’s how the brand’s suits provide the highest protection possible for little ones. She adds, “UV50+ is best. That means over 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays are blocked.” Snapper Rock offers baby sunsuits, swim shirts, bikinis, onepieces, tankinis, board shorts, kaftans, beach pants, jumpers and beach accessories for boys and girls sizes 0 to 14. Wholesaling for $12 to $68 and available in over 600 U.S. stores and worldwide in 43 countries, “Snapper Rock has you covered from top to toe,” Eglinton says. Summer ’15 prints are infused with a Hawaiian theme—palm trees, pineapples and hibiscus flowers—but 2016 will bring the brand’s largest collection yet with expanded silhouettes for girls. Eglinton notes, “Fringe, ruffles and ruching will be big along with neons.” Look for new patterns too, like flamingos, elephants and swordfish, as well as digital printing and gold foiling, both firsts for Snapper Rock. Working with the brand’s fabric design team to create exclusive looks definitely makes Eglinton happy, but her favorite aspect of being a kids’ swimwear designer? “When kids are wearing our gear they are usually doing the things they love most: Swimming, playing in the sand or splashing in a pool!” —L.C.

PAINT THE SKY

SPRING | SUMMER 2016

OILANDWAT ER.COM i nfo @oi la ndwa t er.com 203.722.4963

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BEHIND THE SEAMS SHOES

Oh , Baby! We’ve been accessorizing baby girls for over 35 years!

Brazilian brand Zaxy adds Latin flavor to a summer footwear staple.

Turn to Jelly

I See our expanded Baby Collection at these shows:

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F THERE’S ANYTHING the past decade has revealed about kids’ footwear, it’s that little ones love jelly-style shoes, from Crocs to Mini Melissa. Now, meet Zaxy, the latest brand to offer stylish jellies for women and girls. :_ijh_Xkj[Z_dj^[K$I$Xo=h[dZ[d[KI7"m^_Y^emdi 8hWp_b_WdiWdZWbXhWdZiH_Z[h"=h[dZ^WWdZ?fWd[cW" Zaxy will offer retailers a less expensive alternative to C[b_iiW"WbiecWdk\WYjkh[Z_d8hWp_bWdZZ_ijh_Xkj[Z_dj^[K$I$ Xo=h[dZ[d[$J^[YecfWdo_iZ_iiebl_d]j^[c_Z#fh_Y[ZC[bXo Melissa line.) Iem^Wj_dif_h[Z=h[dZ[d[Êi[n[YijejWa[Wdej^[hi^ejWji[bb_d]W\\ehZWXb[`[bb_[ijeK$I$Yedikc[hi5ÇJ^[o\[bjb_a[j^[h[mWi a hole in the market, with Melissa being very high-end with all of the collaborations they do with Karl Lagerfeld and Jason Wu,” [nfbW_diDWj_edWbIWb[iCWdW][h8hWZ=hkX[h$ÇIej^[oYh[Wj[Z C[b"Xkj_jmWiij_bbl[hoi[h_eki"l[ho\Wi_ed#YediY_eki$J^[o looked at their portfolio and said, ‘What do we have that’s fun for j^[oekd][hi^eff[h"\ehj^[`kd_ehcWha[j5ÊÈ Enter Zaxy. Launched in Brazil three years ago, the brand has already become a collector’s item for the country’s teen fans, who proudly post photos of their stash to Zaxy’s popular Facebook fW][$ÇJ^[i[]_hbiWh[Yebb[Yj_d]^kZh[Zie\fW_hi"È=hkX[h [nYbW_ci$>em[l[h"^[jWa[iYWh[jedej[j^WjÇPWno_idÊjh[Wbbo\eh young girls; it’s for young attitudes.” J^[mec[dÊib_d[ijWhj[Zi^_ff_d]jeK$I$h[jW_b[hi_d<[XhkWho" WdZm_j^W]_hbiÊb_d[i[j\ehIfh_d]Ê',"j^[Yebb[Yj_ed_ife_i[Z jejWa[WZlWdjW][e\j^[]hem_d]CeccoC[jh[dZ"=hkX[h fe_djiekj$Jmee\j^[]_hbiÊijob[iWh[Z_h[YjjWa[Zemdi\hecj^[ women’s collection, including a traditional cage-style sandal and a leopard-print flip-flop. As for the girls’-only styles, neon balleh_dWiWdZiWdZWbiifehj\bWc_d]eiWdZY^[hh_[i$I_p[ihWd][\hec /je*$=hkX[h_i[if[Y_Wbbo[nY_j[ZWXekjj^[XhWdZÊiXWXob_d["W Yebb[Yj_ede\CWho@Wd[i_di_p[i+je'&"WZehd[Zm_j^[l[hoj^_d] from circus characters to smiling suns. Wholesale prices for the ]_hbiÊijob[ihWd][\hec'&je'*"WdZ=hkX[hX[b_[l[iPWnoÊi extra touches, like a comfy insole, will help the brand stand out \hecjhWZ_j_edWb`[bb_[iedj^[cWha[j$ÇEkhiWb[ih[f\hec<beh_ZW YWc[XWYa\hecICEJ7I^e[CWha[je\j^[7c[h_YWi"WdZi^[ had a stack of orders,” he reports. —Audrey Goodson Kingo 5 2 ; 7 H D I > 7M I $ 9 E C  š  7 K = K I J  ( & ' +


Ice Age

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Western Chief snags Disney’s Frozen license for a raingear collection.

OW DOES WESTERN Chief CEO Rob Moehring describe his children’s raingear collections of wellies, rain coats and umbrellas? “It’s all about play,” he says. With licenses spanning Batman, Thomas the Tank Engine, Hello Kitty and Spiderman, as well as original designs featuring fun prints, wild colors and whimsical animal themes, it’s an apt description. And Western Chief’s offerings are about to get even more playful with the addition of Disney’s Frozen licensed collection, debuting this fall. “We’re really excited and the early interest has been terrific,” Moehring reports. With a sequel to the film in the works and a \ehj^Yec_d]JLi[h_[i"j^[j_c_d]\ehj^[Yebb[Yj_ed_i_Z[WbÆc_blions of kids will need their Frozen fix as they anxiously await what happens to beloved Princesses Elsa and Anna and friends. J^[fefkbWhfh_dY[ii[im_bbWZehdj^[XhWdZÊihW_dXeeji"m_j^ Elsa on the left foot and Anna on the right. Meanwhile, the girls’ raincoat is shaped like a princess gown and includes a cape, combining practical, protective wear with dress-up. Elsa and Anna are paired together in a heart on the front. Olaf, the movie’s lovably goofy snowman, decorates raingear for boys. While Frozen may seem like a no-brainer for a children’s license, Moehring believes Western Chief’s ability to bring all of its licensed characters to life in fun yet practical designs is the key to success. “We incorporate play into utility,” he explains. “Moms love our boots because they have handles and the kids can pull j^[cedj^[ci[bl[i$J^[a_Zi][jj^_i\[[b_d]e\_dZ[f[dZ[dY[WdZ they have fun.” Moehring adds that Disney likes the way Western Chief incorporates its assets. “We spend a lot of time telling a story through our designs,” he says. J^[Frozen collection is targeted to boys up to 6 years and ]_hbikfjeW][.$HW_dYeWjim_bbh[jW_b_dj^[++je,&hWd]["Xeeji \eh),je*&WdZkcXh[bbWi\eh'.$J^[b_d[m_bbX[YWhh_[ZXo Western Chief’s leading retail partners, including Nordstrom, Ijh_Z[H_j["7cWped"PWffeiWdZI^e[8ko$ÇJ^[X[Wkjoe\ online [retail] is how it showcases all of our colors and patterns,” Moehring says. “When consumers click on a Frozen princess raincoat, the whole screen will come to life.” Western Chief will also unveil a rain collection featuring Dory from Finding Nemo, just in time for the Finding Dory movie release ibWj[Z\ehIkcc[h(&',"Wim[bbWiWBatman vs. Superman collecj_edYe_dY_Z_d]m_j^j^[\_bcÊiCWhY^(&',fh[c_[h[$—Laurie Cone

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purchase the right size ranges and number of items for their store. Randee Arneson of Randee’s Showroom in Los Angeles, which reps lines like Baby Lulu and Petit Lem, explains that most new shops shouldn’t place huge orders before they know how a particular brand is going to sell, but that in some cases, reps will take advantage of inexperienced buyers and push them into ordering large minimums. A knowledgeable rep coaches buyers into making the best possible decisions, discouraging them from ordering just a few pieces from large lines (which can get lost on the rack) and reminding them of certain brands and styles that didn’t sell well in the past, for instance. …KNOW WHAT’S HOT If you work in fashion, staying on top of the latest trends is a given. But sales reps are in a unique middleman position between retailers and manufacturers, notes Julie Smith of Julie Smith Kids in Los Angeles (which reps Rosé Pistol and Zutano). “After showing a line a half a dozen times, you

SUNSAFE SWIMWEAR www.littleredfish.com info@littleredfish.com NZ +64 21 681331 ENK Children’s Club NY 2.3.4 August Booth #6325

LOOKING FOR A SALES STAR?

Five questions to consider before partnering with a rep or showroom. What’s your track record? Reps who have spent years learning the industry are great resources for newcomers in particular, says Yessenia Tseng of Vierra Rose, who looks for “showrooms that have prior experience with discovering and promoting new brands to become major players.” What’s in your merchandise mix? Avoid showrooms with lots of competing lines. Instead, look for complementary collections with similar aesthetics and price points. “Many buyers have remarked that [my showroom is] ‘one-stop shopping’ because the lines I choose often sell well next to each other in their stores,” says Randee Arneson of Randee’s Showroom. What’s your approach to business? Look for a rep that is a cultural fit, says Miles Faust of Wee Ones. That means they “do business the way we do business,” he explains. Julie

Smith adds that follow-through and solid customer service are key traits of great reps. Who’s on your team? Look for a showroom that’s run by a strong team. “Hiring the right people is even more important than your own knowledge,” offers Ali Moroze of Ali’s Market. “It’s like running a three-legged race,” says Laura Tenison of JoJo Maman Bébé. “We need to work as a pair or one of us will fall over.” How do you really feel? Honesty really is the best policy. “I feel I do a disservice to both the store and the manufacturer if I stay neutral,” says Arneson, explaining that she meshes best with businesses that welcome her feedback. “If I don’t like something I’m not going to sell it just to make my manufacturer happy,” Moroze states. “If it doesn’t sell in the store, that store owner isn’t going to work with me again.” —Kirby Stirland


quickly see the clearest winners or best pairings of tops and bottoms,” says Arneson. “What works best in the showroom is typically what will sell best in the store.” In addition to tipping off brands to seasonal trends, reps can also help brands stay on top of their game by sharing feedback from retailers, Smith says. Barbara Bartman of Auntie Barbara’s Kids, a children’s boutique in Beverly Hills, CA, says she communicates with vendors through her reps. Sometimes, for example, she’ll tell a rep that an otherwise great product has fit issues, and the rep will relay that to the manufacturer, who will heed Bartman’s advice and make adjustments. “We’re all in this together,” she states. Yessenia Tseng of kids’ brand Vierra Rose notes that she often collaborates with their seasoned sales reps on product development. Manufacturers can also use information gleaned from sales reps to develop programs that support business growth in particular territories, like Miles Faust did at children’s accessory brand Wee Ones. In the past, he’s worked with reps to offer color combinations that coordinate with local schools and colleges in particular markets, for instance. The brand also teamed up with Thread Showroom in New York City to target local summer camps. As Fazzio of Thread Showroom says, “We can all get a little buried in our offices. Spending time with your representatives encourages open dialogue where creative concepts, fresh approaches and new ideas can be formed.” …KNOW THE END CONSUMER It’s not all about buying into the latest trends. Stores must consider their actual shoppers first and foremost, and the basic retail tenet ‘know thy customer’ rings true for sales reps as well. “Buying for a store is not a onesize-fits-all solution,” says Arneson. “It takes knowing and keeping good

records on what type of customer base they have and emphasizing the products that may work best.” A big part of that is geographic—meaning a showroom rep in New York should be sensitive to the nuances and shopping habits in other cities across the country. Moroze pays attention to where different fashion trends are falling and employs her experience in wholesaling and retail, explaining that it’s her job to understand every territory in which she sells. The result? “I know what the final consumer is going to say before they say it.” Since manufacturers are generally a few degrees removed from their customer, their sales reps provide an essential link. “Good sales reps know their markets better than any manufacturer can,” says Faust. “They understand trends and preferences and they provide feedback on what’s selling, what’s not and what they think will help our brand be more successful in their market.” Moroze is in the privileged position of liking most of what she reps, but she admits sometimes there are trends she doesn’t necessarily get— yet she can still identify whether they’re going to hit. “A good salesperson can sell anything whether they like it or not. It’s not a matter of if I like it, it’s a matter of if I understand the customer that’s going to like it.” …KNOW THE INDUSTRY While being experts in a particular brand or market is a big part of a rep’s job, so is being able to see the big picture. Knowledge of the apparel industry overall is crucial. “I don’t believe in tunnel vision,” Moroze states. After all, retailers stock a wide variety of brands on their shelves. Reps have to understand how the brands in their showroom will merchandise with labels from other showrooms, too. She adds that retailers are often surprised to discover her knowledge of lines she doesn’t represent—a perk

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of working with an independent rep. Another plus to partnering with an independent rep? Paying the showroom a visit lets buyers get a good look at what’s out there. Bartman notes that even though she knows what she wants, she likes the touch-and-feel experience of checking out lines in person. Smith adds that retailers can get merchandising inspiration and see how clothing fits. “Sometimes I feel a bit Vanna White-ish, moving tops and bottoms and layering for possible new ways to put outfits together,” describes Arneson. “We often take on new lines and although we try and get all the information out there, sometimes it doesn’t register until you see it in person,” she goes on. Not to mention, it’s equally important to get to know the people you’ll be doing business with as it is to see lines in person, Vachon adds. Plus, by visiting a showroom, you just might discover that special item you never knew you always needed. Moroze says that most of the time, when a client comes to her showroom for one of her mainstay brands like Kickee Pants, they’re turned on to several new brands they’d never heard of. “There’s a whole vast world out there,” she states. …KNOW TECH TRENDS It’s no secret that social media is a hotbed of marketing opportunity, and the best sales reps take advantage of that. Duo Showroom in New York City spreads the word about its featured collections via Instagram, making sure to tag brands and use custom hashtags like #dopekids. InPlay Showroom, with locations in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles, often calls out its retailer accounts in its Instagram posts, encouraging their own social media efforts. “Today, we place more focus than ever before

on how effectively a rep can market our line to their customer base,” says Faust. “Their e-mail marketing and social media efforts can be effective tools to help us grow our business together.” Brands also value reps who are hip to emerging technologies, especially today’s crop of B2B e-commerce sites, such as BrandBoom and NuOrder, as well as virtual showrooms like Playologie. Tenison says more of her retail buyers these days want to place orders online, and that she needs her reps to teach them how to do it right off the bat. “It’s a win-win situation for all of us since the reps still get their commission, the customers get live stock information and can make informed decisions on outfit building and we get the orders in a timely manner without the risk of human error,” she explains. She notes that in today’s fast-paced business world, there’s no time for fax machines and back-and-forth phone calls. “I’m afraid that some of the old school reps who fail to get a grip on modern technology get left behind.” With broad industry knowledge and a unique position within the industry, sales and showroom reps can be tremendous assets. If you’re a brand executive, they’re your link to what stores want to see, according to Arneson. And if you’re a retailer, they’re the ones who show you your choices, says Moroze. Plus, they can give you a competitive edge. Bartman notes that after almost 50 years in business, she’s established a good rapport with a number of reps who she can rely on to call her first when they get a great new line. “I want to be the first one to buy it,” she states. Vachon says that just like brick-and-mortar stores give e-commerce brands credibility, so do physical showrooms, declaring, “As long Wi_dZ[f[dZ[dji^efi[n_ij"h[fim_bbWbmWoiX[f[hj_d[dj$Èš


Q& A

continued from page 21

channel come back and grow. We believe in that channel, because there will always be customers and parents who want to touch and feel. And shoes are a little bit trickier than clothing—it’s important to get a good fit.

Do you think today’s tech-savvy moms are driving that shift? Moms today are so much savvier than we were. They have so much information at their fingertips. For example, I used to buy tons and tons of books, but now I just look stuff up online and find the information I need. Other than that, I don’t think that they’ve changed all that much. I think they’re looking for the same core values that I did: quality footwear that’s healthful but also stylish and cute. That’s the need we’re trying to fulfill. Speaking of style, how do you spot trends? We look a lot to adult footwear, and we do a lot of our own research, looking at trend forecasts and what’s hot in the market. But at the end of the day, we try not to be super trendy and stick to the core values our customers expect. A lot of our classic styles come back year after year, and our customers expect to see those styles back in the line every season—and they definitely let us know when they aren’t there anymore. [Laughs.] We often try to incorporate trends—to do fun new stuff and keep it interesting—but in a slightly more subtle way. It’s a bit of a balance. Did the Northeast’s snowbound winter affect Pediped in the same way it stymied sales for a lot of other children’s companies? Not too much, thankfully. There were a couple crazy winters in a row, and I feel like it affected us more two years ago. This year what’s interesting is some of the retailers didn’t buy as much because they had product left over from prior years, and then they were short. They still needed their spring orders and they were selling through a lot of their winter stuff, so I don’t feel like it really impacted us too much this year. I actually felt this year was pretty stable. Pediped is now available in over 50 countries worldwide. Do you see a lot of the company’s growth coming from overseas? Our core business will always be in the U.S., but there’s definitely a lot of potential for growth in the rest of the world, as it becomes a smaller place every year. We have a lot of great accounts in the U.K. and throughout Europe. Canada has always been a great market for us. And we’ve expanded our store numbers in Asia, in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore. Those are the three key markets we think have fantastic potential. What do you think is the biggest way the children’s footwear industry has changed since Pediped first launched? There have been a few new brands entering the market in recent years, and while it’s great to see new people coming up and trying to do things, there are still fewer brands now than there were, say, 10 years ago when we launched. Does that make it easier or harder? I don’t think it impacts us. We’re focused on doing what we do best. Our biggest challenge is just keeping the brand fresh and making sure people know about us—the same challenge we faced 10 years ago. You have new moms every year so you just have to make sure they know about oekhXhWdZ"WdZj^Wjoek\_dZj^[cWdZj^[o\_dZoek$š

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[ON THE BLOCK]

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WHAT’S SELLING AT

AT NEST

What’s one of your most popular brands? Tea Collection is a big brand for us. Also, Cabana Life has done really well. They offer bathing suit sets with rash guards. The line is a good fit for the Colorado lifestyle. Bestselling items for boys? Trucker hats from a local company called Yo Colorado are big, though girls are buying them too. So are graphic T-shirts by great brands like Rowdy Sprout and Prefresh. A lot of local private schools have a collared shirt policy, so we also do well with

polo shirts from brands like Johnnie-O and Toobydoo. Bestselling items for girls? Appaman sunglasses and fedoras are great, and Luna Leggings are awesome. What items are popular for babies? Bibs by Hip Violet, a local brand, resonate with a lot of people. And burp cloths by Chick-a-dee Studio, another local brand, are popular— as are handmade newborn accessories for girls, like headbands and bow clips by Baby Grey Clementine.

Evascu also mixed up the store’s merchandise to appeal to what she describes as an “outdoorsy and active” customer base. “Now we carry very few wovens and not a lot of formal clothing,” she explains. On-trend wash-and-wear staples from brands like Feather Baby and Joah Love are especially popular. “We expect kids to get dirty and we want the clothes to be wearable. We’re fashion-forward but kid appropriate.” Finding that balance—stylishly suitable—can sometimes be tough, but the trick is to offer plenty of comfortable layering pieces in knits and jersey, like long-sleeved tops and cardigans from Tea Collection and Little Joule, perfect for Colorado’s oft-unpredictable climate. “Multiseasonal items work best for us and moms appreciate them,” she notes. After all, making moms happy has been key to the store’s success over the years. That’s why Nest hosts an array of events aimed at pampering that important demographic, like outdoor yoga classes in the shop’s courtyard. “We do a lot of events to make moms feel appreciated. We did a mommy makeover event with local beauty boutique, Vert Beauty, and then offered a complimentary photo shoot to moms with their newborns,” she says. The event was so popular that Nest now offers it every three months. Another example? The store changed its opening hours from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m., since most moms drop their kids off at school between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.—making Nest an easy next stop. Evascu also decided to broaden the parameters of the store’s return policy. “Anything bought at full price can be returned anytime. We want to offer a stress-free shopping experience. It was a scary change to make, but we find returns rarely happen,” she reports. “We’re all about customer service and getting to know our customers.

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Our salespeople meet customers when they’re pregnant and watch their children grow up,” she explains, noting that these personal encounters are what gives Nest a competitive advantage over big box retailers. Accordingly, Evascu goes to great lengths to train her staff. “You can’t hire employees who just want to unlock the door and sit behind the register. I didn’t realize this when I first opened, but now I understand investing in my employees is a cost of doing business,” she declares. Each staff member receives a 50-page handbook along with an extensive, multi-week training course. But it isn’t all about work, all the time. “I need to make sure my employees are happy,” she asserts. Staff members also participate in team-building activities, weekly meetings and social outings, like line dancing. And Evascu isn’t afraid to get in the trenches. “A lot of our employees don’t have kids so I have to teach them how to swaddle,” she laughs. TAKING FLIGHT It wasn’t long before Evascu realized many of her customers were aging out of Nest’s offerings. Rather than simply adding larger sizes to her existing mix, she knew she would need to do more to appeal to the tricky tween demographic. So when the retail spot next to Nest became available, she quickly snapped it up, named it Hatched and painted the walls the same robin’s egg blue as Nest, but punched them up with fuchsia accents. “A tween wants a different shopping experience,” Evascu explains of the separate space, which opened last month. “She doesn’t want to shop in a children’s store. She wants to feel independent even if she’s with her mother.” As for the name? “We joked that customers had ‘hatched from the nest’ when they aged out of Nest,” she laughs. Evascu knew right away that the apparel selection would have to be tweaked to cater to tweens, who are less enamored with dresses, and more into separates, like leggings and skirts. And they “are all about the accessories,” she adds, so Hatched obliges with an amped-up selection of hats, purses and wallets. “We just ordered tennis racket bags and make-up, two items we don’t carry at Nest,” she says. Many of the brands are similar to what Nest offers but in larger sizes, including Mimi & Maggie and Joah Love, but Evascu makes sure to incorporate a few trendy choices from upscale brands, too, like Vince and Kate Spade. While her hands may be full managing a new tween location in addition to two children’s boutiques, Evascu still felt a need to offer merchandise with a greater mission. Thus, she launched Firebird just two shorts blocks away from Nest and Hatched. It’s unique, she points out, because, “Currently, there are no other local toy shops in Denver.” Aiming to help kids develop imagination, Firebird is a battery-free zone; instead, Evascu describes the selection as “back-to-basics.” The shop’s shelves are filled with everything from plush toys by Ragtales to games, costumes, gardening tools, wooden blocks, musical instruments and art supplies. Housed in a former bridal boutique, Evascu chuckles that the oversized dressing rooms are now used by kids to don costumes. “It’s been a personal project. I’m always trying to be present and to reconnect with my kids as a working mom,” she explains. Fittingly, Firebird features a workshop in back for a rotating cast of artistsin-residence from Denver Handmade Alliance, a local non-profit organization connecting area artists. “It’s very inspirational,” Evascu says, noting that the artists’ pieces are offered for sale alongside the store’s selection of curated toys. As for the store’s moniker—yet another avian reference—Evascu explains, “It’s another name for the phoenix rising from the ashes. To me, it references the chances ?^Wl[jeX[ceh[fh[i[djWdZYedd[Yj[Z$Èš


shop talk What’s On Tap TYPICALLY LITTLE ONES and beer don’t mix, of course, XkjJ[iiW=k[hhWÊiY^_bZh[dÊii^ef"HeeC[_dIWd7djed_e"_i ^eki[Z_dF[Whb"W\ehc[hdemh[delWj[ZXh[m[ho$H[jkhd_d] je^[hdWj_l[IWd7djed_eW\j[hijkZo_d]j[nj_b[Z[i_]d_dIWd <hWdY_iYe"=k[hhWef[d[Zj^[ijeh[j^h[[o[WhiW]eXkjcel[Z jej^[^_ijeh_YXh[m[hobWijDel[cX[hÆWdZi^[mekbZdÊjmWdj jeX[Wdom^[h[[bi[$J^[Hee_dHeeC[_i^[hh[iYk[Z" j^h[[#b[]][Z"Çb_jjb[^[heÈYWjm^ei[\khho\WY[_if_Yjkh[Z

1. A new product Guerra suspects will be a hit this summer? “I just got this Sparkle Screen sunscreen in, and it has sold so well. It has glitter in it, and it smells good.” (glitter tots.com)

WhekdZj^[ijeh[$9Whho_d]YWh[\kbboi[b[Yj[ZWffWh[b"]_\ji WdZWYY[iieh_[i\ehXej^][dZ[hihWd]_d]\hecd[mXehdje W]['&"=k[hhWWbieZ[i_]diYkijecf_[Y[ikfedh[gk[ij$Ç?Êc dej_djej^[jhWZ_j_edWb"Iekj^[hd"\h_bbobeea"Èi^[iWoie\j^[ ijeh[ÊiWiiehjc[dj$Ç?b_a[jeiWoHeeC[_im^[h[j^[Yeeb a_Zii^ef$ÈD[njkf5?dWZZ_j_edjecWdW]_d]^[hi^ef"j^[ _dYh[Wi_d]boXkio[djh[fh[d[khm_bbYh[Wj[WYebb[Yj_ed\ehIWd 7djed_eÊi<Wi^_edM[[a_dDel[cX[h$—Laurie Cone

one of my favorites. I always purchase adult items for myself when I place my orders with them.” (hellomerch.com/ collections/helloapparel)

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6. Guerra loves supporting local artists, like Maggie Doyle and David Denosowicz, the founders of Loyalty & Blood. “They have great unisex items.” (loyaltyandblood.squarespace.com)

2. “The Munster Kids brand is so me. I love how sporty and cute it is. I love seeing detail in products, and I love the detail in Munster Kids.” Her top pick? “Their keystone dress is my favorite.” (munsterkids.com) 3. “Iscream has keychains, called squishems, that are scented and come in fun shapes like cupcakes,

7. For a fun gift, Guerra suggests temporary tattoos by Tattly. “They look real and they last two weeks. Kids go bananas for them, and adults can wear them too. I get new ones in all the time; I just got in some great metallic ones.” (tattly.com)

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8. Guerra looks for a little humor in her teething toys. “AppeTEETHERS come in all kinds of shapes, like broccoli, pineapple, bacon and lollipops. They’re hilarious and babies love them.” (little toader.com)

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9. Teething necklaces by Carley Hall of BayBee Boutique is another local favorite. “They’re flying off the shelves. They’re unique because the beads are only in the front so they won’t get caught in your hair.” (etsy.com/shop/ ShopBayBeeBoutique)

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macarons and letters. My little customers love them. I display them at kid-level so kids often grab them. I’ve come up with little tricks to retrieve things from tiny hands.” (iscream-shop.com) 4. “I love the styling and fit of Joah Love. I have carried the brand since I first opened. The clothes are super comfy and fashion forward.” (shopjoahlove.com) 5. For tees with ‘tude, she recommends Phoenix, AZ-based Hello Apparel. “I am the only one in San Antonio who carries the brand. It’s 6 0 ; 7 H D I > 7M I $ 9 E C  š  7 K = K I J  ( & ' +

5

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Tessa Guerra aims to offer a curated collection for kids.

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Jona Michelle

New York Buzz Dannenfelser (212)695-5151 Los Angeles Teresa Stephen (213)623-8155 Dallas Greg Morgan (214)643-0100 Philadelphia Martin Arnold (609)471-6189 Seattle Carrie Martin (253)851-1418 Atlanta Paul Daubney (404)577-6840 Chicago Robert Centen & Associates (312)464-0999 Miami Miriam Devesa (305)261-5374


THE CHILDRENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CLUB New York City Aug.2 - 4

KIDS SHOW

Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Aug. 17 - 19 Corporate

Mark Zelen 1385 Broadway Suite 1800 New York, NY 10018 212-279-4150

Caribbean, Latin America & South Florida Rolando & Ana Hidalgo 305-599-8717

International

Nathan A. Mamiye 212-216-6008

North East

Bill & Sandie Ellsworth 781-326-3999

West Coast

Teresa Stephen 213-623-8155

Texas/Southwest

Annette Cardona-Stein 214-637-4446

Midwest

Richard Finkelstein & Al Zaiff 847-607-8543

Mid Atlantic

Jack Harlan 215-805-1888

Southeast

Paul Daubney 404-577-6840

Western Canada Jeff Swartz 604-681-1719


Earnshaw's | August 2015